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Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures by Vincent…

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures (original 2006; edition 2008)

by Vincent Lam

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Title:Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures
Authors:Vincent Lam
Info:Weinstein Books (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 374 pages
Collections:Your library

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Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures: Stories by Vincent Lam (2006)


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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
The book is an easy, engaging read (it took me a few days). I didn't realize the chapters were meant to be interrelated short stories until much further down the work. It's an excellent "insider view" from a doctor's perspective, the dilemmas of those in the medical profession: the body politic of the health system, the de-sensitized conditioning necessary to meet high volume and demand, the inevitability of sickness and death, and the tension between remaining professional, yet compassionate, while retaining a sense of one's own boundaries and needs. It speaks of the undeniable need to address more than the physiological, but also the breadth and scope of the fragility of the human condition---be it physical or otherwise---for doctors and patients. ( )
  ZaraD.Garcia-Alvarez | Jun 6, 2017 |
I liked this book. Short stories, tied together by the fact that he essentially follows the same 4 doctors throughout. They're medical stories (the author is an Emergency doctor in Canada) so all the jargon and treatments ring true, but yet the medicine is secondary to the stories. Spare in style, plot driven, but literary. I tore through it to see how it ends. I was annoyed that the author felt the need to put a medical terms glossary at the end. I'm fairly sure most people know what a stethescope is. Worth a read, for sure. ( )
  cookierooks | Nov 16, 2016 |
No, thank you. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
Cannot believe this book won a prize. ( )
1 vote brocade | Aug 24, 2013 |
The list of hit television shows based on the medical field is long: Grey's Anatomy, ER, Private Practice, Mercy, House, Scrubs, and on and on! For some reason (this is worth thinking about), we're fascinated with the various woes that afflict our bodies, along with the flawed people who work on them in our time of need.

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures elevates our pop-culture fascination with medicine to literature. Lam follows the lives of some loosely related medical students from entrance exams into hospital life with this collection of twelve short stories.

Vincent Lam has the credentials to write about medicine: he studied medicine in Toronto, the setting of some of these stories, and is himself an ER physician. Though this is his first work of fiction, he writes with a deep insight into human nature. In the story, "Winston," Dr. Sri has to determine whether his patient is psychotic or justifiably paranoid. By the time the short story is over, I felt like I genuinely knew Winston—as well as Dr. Sri.

This collection of stories won the Scotiabank Giller Prize—Canada's highest paying literary award for fiction. For a taste of the quality of Lam's literary chops, read this paragraph:

"The church bells are the sky, are the ether of blue and breeze, and they vibrate from a distance so that the notes intermingle and warble with the hiss of air conditioners. All of this sizzles over the popping rumble of streetcars. The light through the blinds falls diagonally in fat stripes on the floor, and is warm on the carpet whose stains are highlighted and made attractive, important."

It's rare to find a work of fiction is as compelling as Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures. ( )
  StephenBarkley | Jul 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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"Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability." -Sir William Osler
1849-1919, renowned Canadian physician and educator
To my parents, Andrew and Rosalie, and my wife, Margarita, who make everything possible.
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Desperate stragglers arrived late for the molecular biology final examination, their feet wet from tramping through snowbanks and their faces damp from running.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385661444, Paperback)

Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures welcomes readers into a world where the most mundane events can quickly become life or death. By following four young medical students and physicians – Ming, Fitz, Sri and Chen – this debut collection from 2006 Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Vincent Lam is a riveting, eye-opening account of what it means to be a doctor. Deftly navigating his way through 12 interwoven short stories, the author explores the characters’ relationships with each other, their patients, and their careers. Lam draws on his own experience as an emergency room physician and shares an insider’s perspective on the fears, frustrations, and responsibilities linked with one of society’s most highly regarded occupations.

“I wanted to write about the way in which a person changes as they become a physician — how their world view shifts, and how they become a slightly different version of themselves in the process of becoming a doctor,” Lam explains. “I wanted to write about the reality that doing good and trying to help others is not simple. It is ethically complicated and sometimes involves a reality that can only be expressed by telling a story.”

In the book’s first story, “How to Get into Medical School, Part 1,” students Ming and Fitz wrestle with their opposing personalities and study techniques, while coming to terms with a growing emotional connection that elicits disapproval from Ming’s traditional Chinese-Canadian parents. Lam’s exceptional talent for describing scenarios with great precision is showcased in “Take All of Murphy,” when Ming, Chen, and Sri find themselves at a moral crossroads while dissecting a cadaver. Throughout the book, readers are treated to the physicians’ internal thoughts and the mental drama involved with treating patients, including Fitz’s struggle with self-doubt in “Code Clock” and Chen’s boredom and exhaustion in “Before Light.”

From delivering babies to evacuating patients and dealing with deadly viruses, the four primary characters in Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures are made thoroughly human by Lam’s insightful detail, realistic dialogue, and expert storytelling. The medical world is naturally filled with drama, but it’s the author’s ability to give equal weight to the smaller moments that really brings this book to life.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:46 -0400)

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Twelve interwoven stories follow the lives of a group of young doctors as they make their way from medical school to the world of emergency rooms, evacuation missions, and research into new viruses, dealing with challenges and moral dilemmas along the way.… (more)

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